tv MSNBC Live MSNBC January 18, 2013 11:00am-12:00pm EST
all right. everybody. good morning, i'm thomas roberts. topping our agenda. the power of the presidency versus the power of the nra. as the president is officially sworn in for his second term on sunday, his unstoppable campaign machine will relaunch with a new name, organizing for action and a new purpose. selling his second term agenda. the president's new gun control plan, one of the most ambitious that the nation has seen in decades. and vice president joe biden who will meet with the connecticut governor promised mayors across the country yesterday that the administration is in it to win it for this fight. >> there's some who say the most powerful voice in this debate belongs to the gun lobbies and those who demand the stop to these common sense approaches to save lives. i think they're wrong. high capacity magazines don't have a practical sporting purpose or hunting purpose. as one hunter told me. if you've got 12 rounds, you've got 12 rounds, it means you've
already missed the deer 11 times, you should pack the sucker in at that point. you don't deserve to have a gun period you're that bad. >> as the obama administration builds up for the legislative battle, a new poll shows 56% of americans favor stricter gun laws. and the same poll shows the national rifle association with a higher approval than hollywood. >> the nra's had some good days and bad days in this. and actually that depends on how you look at it. even when the nra has a bad day. and the media is calling them too aggressive. that's a good day for the nra, that usually ends up working in their favor in terms of membership. >> joining me now is los angeles mayor antonio villaraigosa. it's great to have you with me this morning. and the president is going to have two very big opportunities to sell the country on his proposals about gun violence. first the inaugural address on
monday and the state of the union address. as we mentioned, he is turning obama for america into this organization for action and vice president joe biden made this promise to you and your colleagues at the mayor's conference yesterday. i want to show everybody. take a listen. >> we're going to take this fight to the halls of congress. we're going to take it beyond that. we're going to take it to the american people. we're going to go around the country, making our case, and we're going to let their voices -- the voices of the american people be heard. >> sir, what do you think this organization is actually going to be able to accomplish? do you think it can match what the obama reelection campaign was able to do? >> yes, i do. and i'll tell you why, this really isn't about the power of the presidency versus the power of the nra. it's about the power of the people. and as you've seen in poll after poll since newtown, there's about a 16-point increase in the number of people from about 39% to 54% number of people who
believe that we need smarter gun control legislation. about 90% of americans think we need universal background checks. as you know, 40% of all sales that occur occur between private dealers and no background check is required. they want tougher laws against people who legally buy guns and then sell them to people who can't. they want better coordination between the federal, state, and local governments. they want smart, safe, responsible gun legislation. and we can have that. there's a majority support for banning assault weapons and high-capacity magazines. and as the president said, as the vice president said, rather, if you a high-capacity magazine of ten or more bullets to shoot a deer, you're in the wrong sport. >> sir, one thing that has been interested is to hear the voices when they're coming out of the woodwork about what side they're falling on. governor of new jersey chris christie has had an interesting
approach after seeing the nra ad that targeted the president's kids. take a listen. >> to talk about the president's children or any public officer's children who have not by their own choice, but by requirement to have protection and to use that somehow to try to make a political point i think is reprehensible. >> obviously being a lobbying institution trying to make sure that gun manufacturers have the ability to sell whatever kind of guns to the americans that are able to buy them. and in all of this, mayor, the conversation to the second amendment certainly comes up. and i know recently you had a harsh message to those in congress that want to interpret the second amendment in special ways that allow for this. >> well, look, first o all, let me say i agree with governor christie. shame on you wayne lapierre and
the nra for putting out an ad like that. the children of elected officials should be off the table. they shouldn't be part of the debate. they haven't proposed these new rules and new proposals, rather, new initiatives. the president has. and he's fair game, but his kids aren't. with respect to what i've said about the congress, they need to be able to walk and chew gum at the same time. they need to get off their duff with their 12% rating and understand the reason why they have the kind of approval rating that they do today is because they haven't done enough to work across the aisle. look, this is an area that -- where there could and should be bipartisan support for sensible legislation. universal background checks, there shouldn't be a disagreement about that. better federal state, local coordination. there shouldn't be a debate about that. there are things that we can do and move forward and things that the congress should do. that's what the people of this
country expect them to do. >> los angeles mayor antonio villaraigo villaraigosa. we have aaron blake, political reporter for the "washington post." >> jen sakke, former press secretary for the obama 2012 campaign. and republican strategist john fehrig. good to have you here. >> good morning. >> just listening to the mayor talk there really draws the, i guess, pulls the veil back on exactly what is being discussed here when it comes to common sense approaches to just even background checks and the from the right. how the president and the administration is shifting gears for organization for action. take a look. >> the president has the most exciting campaign apparatus ever built.
it's time to turn that loose. >> right. >> it's time to turn that loose for something more than just an election. right? if the nra's got a list, then obama for america has a bigger list. >> all right. so jen, you know firsthand exactly what it looks like to be a part of that campaign operation. give us the insider details of how this is really going to work when it's not a campaign-style approach for re-election, but a campaign-style approach to get america to support gun control legislation. >> well, thomas, i think everybody in the obama orbit, people in the building, but people who are supporters from the outside understand this is a very unique moment in time on gun control and the ability to move something forward, move an agenda forward. they're going to take advantage of that. the question here, i think the possibilities for this obama administration is endless. the president is the first one to kind of admit and really embrace, and that is the power of the american people. so how can they utilize this group, the following, the
support people have had for his re-election and turn that into something that can help push an agenda forward? and in this case, it's embracing this moment in time, which is an increasing support for gun control legislation. >> so now as we look at that new nbc news "wall street journal" poll, i want to show everybody where the president sits in his approval rating right now at 52%, 44% disapprove. but this was really interesting where the president hits at very good ratings over 50%. if we look at the categories that fly up on the screen here, easy going and likable at 61% understands the average people. aaron, how does the president capitalize on what we all witnessed for re-election. but based on these numbers? these are strong figures for the president coming in for his second term? >> i really think that's what the president has going for him. towards the end of the election, he saw his approval rating drop quite a bit. but he's always been a pretty popular person as far as the
american people are concerned. they've always thought he was sincere, that he was a good leader, things like that. so i think that -- that's why you're seeing him go out and talk to the american people more as opposed to negotiating with congress. i think he thinks that the power of his personality is really kind of his biggest bargaining chip in this whole gun control debate. >> gang, if we can put that back up there. i want to show everybody. understands average people at 53%, inspirational exciting, 53%. strong leadership qualities at 53%. good commander in chief at 51%. but understands the average people, 53%. that's interesting to look at there. and john, i want to talk to you about this. across this country, we know that there are wide supporters of the second amendment and certainly for the nra. but one of the biggest hills, maybe, that the president will have to climb is from pro gun democrats. >> right. >> in washington, d.c. i just want to play for you an ad that's currently running right now about a pro-gun democrat. take a look.
>> for as long as i can remember, my father always had this rifle real handy. >> someone's shooting in the building. >> he came in we are told with at least three weapons. >> multiple weapons. >> so, john, that was a liberal group, the coalition to end gun violence targeting representative a democrat from georgia. he's a pro-gun guy. we have senator harry reid, pro gun guy who is the majority leader of the senate and john boehner, the house is squarely going to deliver all of this right at harry reid's feet. what do senate democrats who are pro-gun do? and is that the easiest achilles heel for those on the right to target them? >> well, that's exactly right, thomas. i think the biggest problem for the president and his gun agenda will be harry reid and all the senate democrats up for reelection next time around. i think what john boehner and the house republicans are going to say is we'll take this up as soon as the senate passes it. and i would guarantee you that it's going to be very difficult to get this through the senate.
senator reid has not come out four square behind the president's proposals. my guess is he won the -- his last election chiefly because he got the nra's endorsement. he's not going to necessarily want to turn his back. because if he does turn his back on the nra. and not just about the nra. i would say the nra has done a very good job of delegitimatizing itself with these ads. but that doesn't mean there's not a huge power of gun owners in a loot of these states, especially in red states and harry reid's got to worry about that as he comes into the next election. >> all right, gang, i want to say that we need to welcome michael steele aboard. we have wedged him into this conversation. there he is. mr. steele, it's good to have you onboard. >> good to be with you. >> we're going to shift topics because a lot of talk has been made about this gop retreat. let me get everybody up to speed on thisment republican lawmakers going to be meeting in williamsburg coming up for three days the main agenda there is looking at how to broaden the tent. how to bring in more minority
voters, how to bring in more women on this. michael, they're really getting beat across the nose on this one because they are apparently doing this in a place where it is named for a former slave owner. and so the irony of going here to hold the meetings, what's your reaction to that? >> well, look, you know, it's kind of hard to sort of focus in on that part of it and where they're meeting. what i'm more concerned about is the substance they do afterwards. at the end of the day, thomas, this is not about having a meeting and saying nice platitudes about outreach and a word i hate. this is about engagement. this is about communication, this is about sharing values and principles and connecting them to real people and everyday situations. let's talk about how we lift the poor out of poverty and prosperity and how we level the playing field using the instruments and tools of the free market enterprise system. we moved away from that argument and that is -- that transcends
generation, that transcends race, that transcends class. and i think it's an opportunity for the party to get out of its comfort zone here and really engage people where they are and stop pretending at doing outreach as they like to call it. so, you know, we'll see what the substance of the plan is, the rnc's coming up with some kind of autopsy of the last election. you don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure out you lost every possible demographic there is. >> have you read this piece in the "washington examiner" where he talks about what this meeting is going to be about. and from an insider that is involved with this retreat, they say we're trying to be like richard nixon, says this republican insider. we've got a secret plan to win the war. but we can't tell you what that is. michael, is there an intellectual problem within the republican party? if we're looking to tricky dick to solve problems of the right? >> well, look, the intellectual problem in the party if you have
a secret plan you can't share with anybody. >> is that like double secret probation in animal house? >> that's it. >> it does not exist, though. >> that's the problem. you're not serious. and so let's get serious. i know during my chairmanship we tried through coalitions throughout the country to build a grass roots effort and it won elections and it lifted us from 26% approval to over 50% approval with the voters. they followed our lead. we've got to get back into that sweet spot again. and you don't do it with secret plans. >> let's look at say approval rating again out of the "wall street journal" poll. for congress, the job approval rating is at 14%. and, jen, in the washington post today charles krauthammer talking about how president obama has successfully been neutering republican members of the house. again, from your insiders' perspective, is that you guys talk about in secret meetings? how to neuter those on the right? >> look, i don't think it's possible to neuter the right. so i don't think that's the goal. look, i will say because i want to touch on something you were
just talking about. in that this is not -- if i were advising the republicans, i would say this is not about tactics or poll tested talking points. this is about what is your agenda? do you support equal pay for women? do you support comprehensive immigration reform? so it's -- i think within the democratic party, it's hard to understand why they keep having meetings about their tactics when really they need to take a look at how they're not identifying with or relating to the demographics of the country. >> hey, thomas, can i say real quick to jen on that point. you're absolutely right. and if you disagree with the things that jen just outlined there as is part of the republican talking point if you will, tell us why, and explain why what you're proposing as an alternative is better. and that piece is always missing. >> i want to say thanks to our supersized panel today. my thanks to all four of you. i really appreciate your time. we are still keeping our eyes on that tense situation that we've been reporting on algeria where some hostages are
being held, possibly americans, and some of the other hostages were able to escape. an unknown amount, though, have been killed. we'll bring you full details ahead. plus, one big lie. lance armstrong admitting to using performance-enhancing drugs for every single one of his tour de france victories. what all this means for his future. and is he forgivable? does lance armstrong deserve a second chance around? tweet me @thomasaroberts or find me on facebook. [ male announcer ] this is sheldon, whose long dy setting up the news
>> did you ever take banned substances to enhance your cycling performance? >> yes. >> yes or no, was one of those banned substances epo? >> yes. >> did you ever blood dope or use blood transfusions to enhance your cycling performance? >> yes. >> did you ever use any other banned substances like testosterone, cortisone or human growth hormone? >> yes. >> yes or no, in all seven of your tour de france victories, did you ever take banned substances or blood dope? >> yes. >> so it is the interview that everybody's talking about today. joining me in studio from nbc sports, rob, it's great to have you here. and it seemed more like a deposition going before oprah right there to answer these yes and no questions and come out of the gate. but the thing we were talking about in the break is this has ruined so many lives. people trampled over by trying to tell the truth about lance
armstrong and he was a big bully to keeping them quiet. i want to play another piece of sound of the interview where he talks about that directly. take a listen. >> i was a bully in the sense that i tried to control the narrative. and if i didn't like what somebody said and for whatever reasons in my own head, whether i viewed that as somebody being disloyal or a friend turning on you or whatever, i tried to control that and said that's a lie, they're liars. >> and rob, that worked for a very long time. >> amazing how long it worked for. and you know, we knew that this confession was coming in this interview, but it was still unbelievable to see the words and hear the words yes come out of his mouth when oprah started the interview with those questions. and from that moment on, the interview was an interview with the least credible man in the world. and every single thing that came out of his mouth you had to take with a grain of salt. but i -- to your point, thomas, he was so aggressive, so bullying in his pursuit of
people who told the truth over so many years. it's just hard to see how anyone now can see him as rehabilitated because now in 2013 he finally admits to doping. >> when people look at the motives behind this, so he can compete in the sanctioned events. so they look over triathlons he wants to try to win purses from. profiling his decades of denials and saying lance armstrong, the world's biggest liar? he sets another record for the most pinnoccios ever. what's the reaction there? >> no, the consensus is he's going to have a very hard time ever recovering from this. because of the length and the fortitude of his lies. one moment where he choked up a little bit last night was when oprah played for him a part of his victory speech from the last tour de france that he won. and he's holding the microphone and he's got this moment on the
stage. he knows he's retiring, and the last thing he says in france is i didn't dope. and it's too bad that all of you out there can't believe in this miracle of my life. he's living with this lie and marketing this lie his entire life. and yes, some good things came of that lie, the charity he set up for cancer survivors obviously was a positive thing. but it was all built on these lies. >> when we look at what the "usa today" puts out today saying can you forgive, america, about second chances, will lance get his? the comebacks of athletes like tiger woods, michael vick, kobe bryant. why is lance different from those guys? >> well, it's a great question. i think part of it is that he -- he wasn't very sympathetic last night. you know, this was not the typical oprah interview where there were tears and you felt bad for him at some point. at no point did i feel any
sympathy for him in that interview. it was the same calculated person that had really put this tale of lies together for all these years. and i don't know that lance armstrong is capable of really coming off as a sympathetic person. i don't think it's in him. so it was calculated to lie all those years and in my opinion, thomas, it was calculated to finally tell the truth. >> and round two comes on own tonight. the other big story, i'd like to have you off the top of the show today, we had so much going on today, manti te'o's trouble, the notre dame linebacker who had the fake girlfriend, the death of her. people around the country posting pictures of themselves te'oing. he knew she wasn't dead but then went on to espn to talk about it right before the heisman trophy was awarded. take a listen. >> you mentioned the tragedy,
you lose your grandmother and your girlfriend in the same week. >> same day. >> what do you think both of those ladies would say to you being a heisman trophy finalist. >> i -- i hope that my grandma and my girlfriend would say they're proud. not only that i'm here but the way that i conducted myself and just always to remain humble, be gracious and always to acknowledge heavenly father above all things. >> great player. he's a great player. now they've got the video of him driving a golf cart on that compound down in florida because he's waiting for the nfl draft. he gave his statement saying i'm so embarrassed but i want to focus on the draft. what are his chances now? is he still going to go in the top ten? >> well, he was never really projected to be a top five or top ten guy. as a linebacker, it's unclear where he'll go. it depends on whether this story he's telling about being a victim holds together or not. if it turns out he was behind this hoax, that he was a part of
this hoax, i think his draft stock at that point will fall because now you've got real character issues, you've got questions that will be dogging him well into his career. so i think that will really determine where he gets drafted. and he's got to come out and speak about this and explain at length with a reporter asking questions what happened. >> and no word yet on whether there's any confirmed sit-downs. i know a lot of people have their offers out there. >> there was a rumor he was going to and then he pulled back. he's got no plans published to speak. he's got to speak. there are too many questions about the time line, things said at different times. a strange story. >> thanks so much from nbc sports. that was great, thank you. coming up, democrats divided over gun control legislation, especially over the assault weapons ban. how can democrats bridge that divide? i'm going to ask bobby scott, vice chair of the gun task force. plus, a warning for you, this video is a little tough to watch. a woman thrown on to the subway tracks, but ends a lot better than you might think. (dog) larry,larry,larrryyy.
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♪ eric holder prepares to address gun control, congressional lawmakers are prepping for what's shaping up to be a long road to passing any form of legislation backed by president obama. joining me now, congressman bobby scott, a democrat from virginia. he's also vice chair of the congressional gun violence prevention task force. congressman, it's great to have you here. and during president obama's announcement this week, he charged lawmakers to worry more about their constituents than their nra rating. i want to point out to you that you got an "f" rating by the nra. but as we take a look at this chart, it highlights the campaign donations to democratic senators who are either on the fence about the president's plans or refusing to comment about those plans. they include harry reid, senator joe manchin, the only senator on that list that received a campaign contribution from the
nra. what do you think is the big reason behind the division among senate democrats? >> well, in the studio i can't see the list you just put up, but just let me say that this is not a new issue. gun safety has been an issue that everybody deals with over the years and some have come to a conclusion on the issue. so it's -- the public, i think, has taken a different view of the issue after newtown. you had 20 children, bodies riddled with bullets. some of the previous positions may not hold. i think you've also got a situation where 75% of the public now support an assault weapons ban. but that's not the only issue before us. you have the size of the magazines. many people have suggested that the size of the magazine is more important an issue than the
weapon. most of the mass shootings have been interrupted during the time they're trying to change magazines. and that gives you limiting the magazine i think may have more of an impact in the weapon itself. gaby giffords situation, i believe, was a handgun with a huge magazine. and they were able to get off many bullets with just a handgun. and so the size of the magazine is extremely important. but there are other issues too. >> sir, i want to ask you, though, when it comes to mental health, that's a big point of all of this. and a lot of people have been talking about that component of it. but you are the vice chair of the congressional gun violence task force. however, your colleague, bob goodlat of virginia, congressman is also now the chair of the house judiciary, which is going to oversee any types of regulations of the 113th. he said last month there is no appetite for this. so is he the biggest obstacle to
seeing something progressively move forward through what we know to be -- is pretty choppy waters there in d.c. right now. >> welm, i think people made different statements over the last few weeks as to what might happen. i think most have suggested that a normal process for legislation could take place. but, i mean, you can't focus just on the assault weapons ban part of it. you've got plenty health, also violence prevention generally. the attorney general, i think you just mentioned a report that was issued a few days before the newtown tragedy. how you can reduce violence generally, children to problems associated with children exposed to violence. and they went to great lengths to show you can with evidence-based approaches reduce violence. the youth promise act is supported by a lot of youth juvenile justice organizations. it seems to eliminate what the children's defense fund calls the cradle to prison pipeline
and replace it with a cradle to college and career pipeline by investing in children. every time you do that using evidence-based approaches, you significantly reduce crime and save more money than you spend. the fact of the matter is, my friend at the university of virginia frequently mentions. if your school shooting prevention program begins when the shooter is at the door, it's too late. now, you have to reduce violence generally, you have to talk about the mental health. and if you've got a troubled child that's trying to mass an arsenal of weapons to shoot somebody, you've got to intervene before they show up at the door. i mean, there's a lot that we can do that can protect our children. and we shouldn't be focused on just one. i support the assault weapons ban. i don't think -- i supported it when it came in 20 years ago. i opposed the expiration that should have been continued. that's just one, the magazines, mental health, and prevention.
>> congressman bobby scott, thanks so much for your time today. i do appreciate it. i want to bring in now to the conversation jimmy williams. he is our senate and congressional guru. when you hear the congressman there talking about this, and we know that bob goodlat is going to be overseeing gun regulations, the biggest obstacle is over on the left. senate dems, harry reid, pro gun, how does anything get done? >> welm, it's a great question. and the house has its own ball of wax which is it is controlled by the republicans and the republicans aren't going to want to move any kind of gun control that the nra's not going to support. that means dead on arrival there. senator reid is going to have to bring up a bill at some point. he made some comments to his local press outlets this past week or this week where he said it's going to be a tough sled and he's going to have to bring it up and see what happens. but he's not going to move
anything that the house won't pass. if the house is controlled by republicans, how in the heck is he going to get anything done in the senate? i think what he has to do, he has to build consensus. and the white house will go on a great sort of campaign -- >> correct. >> and get this done. and what's going to happen is, they'll build consensus, he'll bring a bill to the floor and then we'll see where these things come down on clips on assault weapons on the mental health. all these different parts moving parts have to get into one bill. that's the hardest part. will it be filibustered? what will -- what role will republicans play? moderate republicans, moderate democrats. and that's the big question. >> jimmy williams, great to have you on to talk strategy, sir, i appreciate it. an ongoing rescue attempt in algeria topping our look at stories making the news now. state tv reporting military forces are saying nearly 100 foreign hostages have been freed from the al qaeda-linked kidnappers, but some are unaccounted for. we're going to get perspective on that situation.
nbc terror analyst joins me coming up. in colorado, though, the scene of the aurora movie theater shooting is back in business. the remembered ceremony and a screening of the hobbit. the latest official figures on the blue showing the number of cases was high last week but went down in certain areas. california was added to the 47 states with wide-spread activity. crews in illinois exhume the body of a poisoned lottery winner today. the family hopes a new autopsy will shed light on who killed khan a day before he was to collect his winnings. police in philadelphia say they captured the man seen beating a woman and throwing her on to the subway tracks. investigators say the man asked for a light before suddenly turning violent. the woman suffered bruises and bumps. that your mouth is under attack, from food particles and bacteria. try fixodent. it helps create a food seal defense for a clean mouth and kills bacteria for fresh breath. ♪ fixodent, and forget it. ♪
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shh! [ coughs ] shh! [ breathes deeply, wind blows ] this feels cool. [ male announcer ] halls. let the cool in. developing details. state tv says the military is again attempting to free hundreds of captives from al qaeda-linked kidnappers. among the hostages, americans reportedly, and this morning
from london, leon panetta said the u.s. is closely monitoring the situation. >> we are working around the clock. to ensure the safe return of our citizens. and we will continue to be in close consultation with the algerian government. >> joining me now, terrorism analyst evan coleman. it's great to have you here. and as we've been going off these reports, the algerian state tv networks saying crews have freed 100 hostages, some unaccounted for. what more can you tell us about that? >> there's a lot of murkiness right now about exactly who is free and who is not. there's been reports from the kidnappers themselves who called into a local media station and said they're holding a total of seven hostages, including at least two americans. it's no the clear whether or not that's accurate or whether that's a total number. the sad part here is i think we're looking at a definite casualty figure. we're looking at people who lost their lives in this. it's not clear who they are yet.
the good news is that even the kidnappers seem to say that the americans are still alive. and so that -- lets hope that's indeed accurate. >> what more do we know about the hostage takers and motives? what their demands are? >> supposedly the latest demand is they want the freeing of the and they want the liberation of sadiki who was a boston-based doctor captured working with al qaeda. it's not clear, though, that's their real demand. because this group before has come out with similar demands just to use it as political lemp leverage. so it's not really clear they think they can get him freed from prison here in the u.s. or a way of trying to get the u.s. government to fork over cash instead of freeing these al qaeda prisoners. >> when we hear secretary of defense leon panetta say we're monitoring this situation, we're
on top of it, what does that really mean? with getting out what would be americans that are caught in the crossfire of that situation? >> well, there is a bit of sensitivity here. the government have got rn burned in the past when they've worked with the european governments, gone in and paid very large ransom payments in order to get their hostages freed and as a result they've gotten tons of money and perpetuated itself over and over. so the algerians are reluctant to allow direct involvement and reluctant to let too much information out. i think the reality is, though, the algerians are facing a difficult situation. i think there's going to be very disturbing details that are going to come out. it's a matter of time. but in the meantime, algerians are struggling with the remaining kidnappers. supposedly the leader of the kidnappers is dead. a number of prominent members of jihadi groups with them are dead. it's not clear how many of these folks are remaining or what
their leadership stratus is. but there are still kidnappers and there is still a hostage situation. >> evan kohlmann appreciate it. we'll be right back after this. stick around. living with moderate to severe rheumatoid arthritis means living with pain. it could also mean living with joint damage. humira, adalimumab, can help treat more than just the pain. for many adults, humira is clinically proven to help relieve pain and stop further joint damage. humira can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal events, such as infections, lymphoma, or other types of cancer, have happened. blood, liver and nervous system problems, serious allergic reactions, and new or worsening heart failure have occurred. before starting humira, your doctor should test you for tb.
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with a prepaid card. spends like cash. feels like membership. say cheese, it's time now for the poly side bar. the white house unveiling a new portrait of a confident-looking president obama this morning. the picture was taken on december 6th in front of his desk in the oval office. and what a difference a few years can make, right? check out the 2009 official portrait. the president a little bit grayer, but also got a bigger smile on him. last night it was all smiles, the couple went out on the town with friends to celebrate michelle obama's 49th birthday. they had dinner in georgetown. and things are looking up with the housing market including the most famous house in america, the white house zillow now saying it's worth about $295 million, that's up 7% since the beginning of the president's first term. the final preps are underway for the second inauguration of president barack obama with a
private ceremony swearing in for sunday. then on monday in washington, the parties with the second swearing in at the capitol, the parades, the balls. joining me now, a former national press secretary for the obama 2012 campaign. ben, good to see you. i know you've been a busy man trying to get this together. so the festivities as we explained to everybody, they actually start tomorrow. explain what starts ahead of the big parade on monday? >> sure. well, one of the differences between this inaugural and some past inaugurals is the national day of service which will take place in all 50 states beginning tomorrow. we've had staff in all 50 states organizing this. so even if you're at home, you can participate in the inaugural celebration. this will be neighbors giving back to their communities to kick off the celebration, a tradition that the president, the first lady established the last time around. and what they hope will carry on to future inaugurals. tomorrow night, there'll be a children's inaugural concert dedicated to the children of
military families, particularly those service members who have been serving abroad these past four years. >> i just wanted to say, though, as we look at the -- what's heading, i guess, starting off the weekend, but what we do know is the president's going to be taking the official oath on sunday. but the ceremony on monday is what the public is going to see. but is it true or not? our pete williams saying by the time the president is finished he'll have recited this four different times? >> well, that's right, as you know two runs at it during the first inaugural in 2009. and the swearing in is actually constitutionally mandated. it has to take place on the 20th at noon, so that will be a small private ceremony at the white house. the president will be using the robinson family bible for that on monday during the public ceremony, he'll be using both abraham lincoln's bible and dr.
king's bible. obviously a heavy amount of symbolism there. >> and chief justice john roberts helms both of those? >> that's right and the first hispanic justice on the supreme court sonia sotomayor will to g take on. we had jen saki leading off the top of the show, your former colleague, as you guys were out on the road for the campaign, and we know that the president is now relaunching his campaign efforts for his second term to get the agenda across, leading off with gun control. do you think that organizing for action will actually work, that the catalyst of newtown combined with that of the machine that is the president's re-election style could work to get the american support the president feels he needs? >> i absolutely think so. 90% of the public thinks there should be universal background checks. you go to members of congress and they say i can't vote for that. i'm fearful of the mra and the organizing efforts that they
would put together in my community, my congressional district. we know it's time to align where public opinion is, to manifest support behind that and to show members of congress that americans are ready to mobilize behind a cause like this, that what we're doing isn't working, that these incidents have happened again and again over the years. we know what we can do to solve these problems, and now you're going to see all those people who have been organizing their communities for the past couple of years on behalf of the campaign, contact their members of congress, and organize in their communities on behalf of the legislative agenda. i think it's a necessary effort, and i think that it can be a very powerful effort. >> all right. so, ben, after tuesday hopefully you're going to get 34 sleep, but what's coming up next for you? >> well, that's something i'll figure out on tuesday morning and think about it. i got to drain the last few years from my system first sdwloosh. >> hopefully you'll get a good night's sleep. thank you.
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>> we asked and you answered. does lance armstrong deserve a second chance? remy tweets not a chance. his interview with oprah proved what we've all been thinking. the only thing he's sorry for is getting caught. and from nancy, no, a second chance teaches our children it's okay to lie, cheat, and deceive fans if you are famous and you apologize. all right. we encourage to you keep the conversation going. you can find us on twitter and facebook. that's going to wrap things up for me today. have a great weekend, everybody. don't go anywhere. "now" with alex wagner is coming up. can lance forgive? america forgive and forget? >> how many ways can you say no way? no way. happy friday, thomas. >> no way. no way. i'll just keep saying that all weekend long. >> just in the background through the show. ratings gold. >> have a good show, alex. >> you too. is the nra preparing itself for a 2013 legislative battalions or a 1776 style
insurrection. we will discuss the winds of war when sam stein, harold ford jr. michael beslaf and ben smith, and inauguration weekend with a look at the obama agenda and whether you really can save the best for last. we'll discuss the truth lies and legacy of lance armstrong and other fallen heroes with star jones and investigative sports journalist selena roberts. all that when "now" starts in a mere 180 seconds. we know a place where tossing and turning have given way to sleeping. where sleepless nights yield to restful sleep. and lunesta®(eszopiclone) can help you get there. like it has for so many people before. when taking lunesta, don't drive or operate machinery until you feel fully awake. walking, eating, driving, or engaging in other activities while asleep, without remembering it the next day, have been reported. lunesta should not be taken together with alcohol. abnormal behaviors may include aggressiveness, agitation, hallucinations, or confusion. in depressed patients, worsening of depression,
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